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Questions tagged [deletion]

Secure deletion of data.

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104 votes
4 answers
73k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive multiple times better than just doing it once?

Lots of different programs, such as Darik's Boot and Nuke, let you write over a hard drive multiple times under the guise of it being more secure than just doing it once. Why?
Tom Marthenal's user avatar
104 votes
8 answers
44k views

How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
nealmcb's user avatar
  • 20.7k
90 votes
1 answer
19k views

Wiping an SSD with Parted Magic seemed too quick

I'm selling a computer with an SSD (it's a Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1). I wiped the drive using Parted Magic. I used the ATA method. I'm not sure what that is but it was the only setting available. It ...
user1102550's user avatar
89 votes
11 answers
20k views

Why didn't OSes securely delete files right from the beginning? And why do they still not do this?

After decades of hearing that "delete" does not really make the data impossible to recover, I have to ask WHY the OS was not corrected long ago to do what it should have been doing all along? What is ...
user avatar
71 votes
3 answers
39k views

Is it enough to only wipe a flash drive once?

According to the documentation for the "diskscrb" command for wiping conventional hard drives: http://www.forensics-intl.com/diskscrb.html "Conforms to and exceeds the Government ...
LanceBaynes's user avatar
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58 votes
6 answers
162k views

Can wiped SSD data be recovered?

I was reading another post on destroying IDE drives, and how you could remove data, wipe it, or just destroy the drive. The removed data would still be there in some state, although not easily ...
cutrightjm's user avatar
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45 votes
3 answers
78k views

What is the difference between ATA Secure Erase and Security Erase? How can I ensure they worked?

I'd like to wipe a stack of drives (spinning and SSD) securely. I'm familiar with the ATA Secure Erase (SE) command via hdparm, but I'm not sure if I should use the Security Erase (SE+) command ...
Sophit's user avatar
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39 votes
7 answers
9k views

At what point is deleted data irrecoverable?

From reading around on the internet I get the impression that barring physical damage, deleted data can be always be recovered using sophisticated digital forensics. For this reason the advice is ...
Yoshi's user avatar
  • 407
31 votes
5 answers
10k views

How to safely wipe a USB flash drive [duplicate]

I want to wipe all residual data left behind even after a format on a regular 64GB fash drive, the ones someone can scan and recover data. What's the most efficient but quickest way to do this? Any ...
LtMuffin's user avatar
  • 442
29 votes
5 answers
5k views

Does the destruction of sensitive information limit the choice of hard drives to non-flash based devices?

Working with a non-profit organization,it's common to reuse hard drives that have previously stored highly sensitive information such as medical and financial records. This is primarily driven by cost-...
Motivated's user avatar
  • 1,513
29 votes
7 answers
55k views

How do I securely erase USB flash drives?

I would like to know if there is a way to securely erase USB flash drives without a chance to recover data from it once it has been erased. I know, that programms like DBAN can be used to securely ...
user295031's user avatar
26 votes
5 answers
8k views

Permanently erasing a file

As far as I know, there is a table of files present in the hard drive that does not contain the data of each file but can point you to it. When you delete a file, the record of it gets deleted from ...
GuestBro's user avatar
  • 277
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is a file shredder/secure erase necessary when you have full disk encryption turned on?

The password manager that I use has instructions to migrate to a new file format: Export existing passwords to a temporary text file Change password manager to new format Import passwords from ...
JonnyWizz's user avatar
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25 votes
4 answers
12k views

To what extent does formatting a disk (securely) remove its data?

If the goal is to make data no longer retrievable, how secure is it to format the disk? I assumed formatting the disk overwrites free space (thus making it a safe bet no one's going to be able to ...
Celeritas's user avatar
  • 10.1k
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

I forgot to shred a file before deleting it (on Windows). How do I shred that part of file system now where the file was located?

My company has a policy that files have to be shredded after they've been read. They provide with a tool shred.exe that I run on the file and it overwrites it with garbage in the file system before ...
bodacydo's user avatar
  • 849
19 votes
11 answers
31k views

I'm leaving my job and want to erase as many personal details etc. as possible; any tips?

Obviously this is very open-ended. But, I'm just paranoid about people going through everything on my laptop after I leave my job. Here are the things I'm planning to do: Completely wipe all browser ...
Tedderz's user avatar
  • 291
19 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive used when writing all ones is more beneficial? [duplicate]

As far as I know, in order to securely delete the hard drive's contents, one should fill it with zeroes or, for added security and harder recoverability, random data first and then all zeroes. In ...
Serban Razvan's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Privacy data concern: Facebook account appearing with a search for phone number, despite it never being added - what should I do? [closed]

Something that's concerned me recently is "doxing" or the searching for and posting of personal information. Recently I carried out essentially an audit of my personal security online and discovered a ...
nobetterdan's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

Secure wiping of EEPROM and flash memory

Older magnetic storage exhibited some data remanence, so a recommendation emerged to wipe data by overwriting it multiple times with varying patterns — the “Gutmann wipe”. More recent hard disk ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
8k views

Is there a real-world example of SSD data recovery?

Secure data deletion is known to be more complicated and elusive on a solid-state drive than for a regular hard drive. For instance, the logical block mapping on the SSD's flash translation layer ...
Arminius's user avatar
  • 44.4k
15 votes
2 answers
8k views

Erased encrypted HDD, then secure erased 10% of it before selling it - is it safe?

I have a 4TB mechanical hard drive that was encrypted before I ever wrote any file on it. I used a 25 character password with symbols. Before I sold it, I unmounted the disk while it was still ...
alexx0186's user avatar
  • 321
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

How can data from VirtualBox leak to the host and how to avoid it?

I used a virtual machine (Windows host/Linux mint guest) to store some very sensitive and private data (it shouldn't be uncovered by state-level actors). Today I decided to check how much deleted ...
Sonozaki's user avatar
  • 157
13 votes
4 answers
7k views

How completely wipe information of overwritten files and folder?

I have only a basic understanding of how files are written in a hard disk. Here I assume the files are overwritten this way. File A is deleted Its address is removed and showed vacant New File B is ...
Eka's user avatar
  • 569
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why are drives overwritten three times when being disposed of? [duplicate]

I am looking at the secure disposal of old flash drives, and one of the standards I have come across says that they should be overwritten three times. Why is one time not enough? I assume doing the ...
Arlix's user avatar
  • 1,489
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

If I sell my printer, can the last printed pages be recovered? And how can I wipe it?

I have a Brother 5470-DW Printer. I want to sell it but wanted to make sure all the last prints can't be recovered. If I sold my printer could the last pages printed be recovered? How can I wipe all ...
Connect4's user avatar
  • 133
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Ensure data doesn't linger after being deleted

I'm trying to make a service that keeps as little data on its users as possible. To that end, I want to make sure that someone using forensic tools won't gain any more information than I would by ...
Nick ODell's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Encrypting a disk that has stuff on it?

Ok, so a pretty big disk ~1-2TB (90% full, multiple partitions + 2 operating systems on it), needs to be encrypted and zeroed-out, and it's a bit too much data for backing it all up before encryption. ...
tkit's user avatar
  • 3,352
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Should a secure ATA erase be performed on a non-SSD drive?

When running the command hdparm -I /dev/sda the following output is generated. ATA device, with non-removable media Model Number: WDC WD10JPVX-75JC3T0 Serial ...
Motivated's user avatar
  • 1,513
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

“Encrypt and wipe” procedure on Android Lollipop?

I know a lot of people are advocating an "encrypt and wipe" procedure for selling used Android phones. But according to the AOSP website, in Android 5.x Lollipop: Created fast encryption, which ...
Desmond's user avatar
  • 119
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

Magnet to wipe HDD [duplicate]

This question is for HDD, not SDD. Would a Neodymium magnet like this one be strong enough to wipe the contents of a hard disk drive? How long would such an act take to destroy any data so it's not ...
k1308517's user avatar
  • 1,272
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

How to properly delete all data from cell phones?

Lately I've been thinking to get rid of some old smartphones; among them an Android device and a Blackberry. Not selling or recycling them is the ideal solution, however, I still would like to know ...
Kayla's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
1 answer
760 views

GDPR Deletion Request Tracking Paradox - Suppression Lists

I work at a large-ish tech company with hundreds of websites and some large web applications with a very large number of users. I am planning to propose that we have a central system to track ...
ZZ9's user avatar
  • 273
9 votes
8 answers
16k views

Overwriting hard drive to securely delete a file?

I am working on a computer that I am not allowed to install new software on. It does not have secure delete software installed. Suppose I have a file (or files) that are sensitive that I'd like to ...
Drew's user avatar
  • 107
9 votes
3 answers
6k views

How to erase as much as possible an SSD without ATA Secure Erase?

The question is almost completely answered. However, more details are still needed. See Update 2 down here. I've learnt that the ATA Secure Erase is uncorrectly implemented in SSDs (sources are down ...
X.LINK's user avatar
  • 141
9 votes
2 answers
24k views

Does microwaving a hard drive erase it?

Kind of a silly question, but I'm genuinely curious: (in part because I recently saw several questions that refer to "nuking" a hard drive...) what would a microwave DO to an HDD? Would it erase data ...
KnightOfNi's user avatar
  • 2,287
8 votes
2 answers
6k views

ATA security erase on SSD

Is it possible to recovery data from SSD, that was secure erased (https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase), by IT or professional data recovery company? Does this type of erasing reduce ...
Artur Szymczak's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

Will completely wiping your hard drive remove all malware? [duplicate]

I recently bought a new computer. Now I want to convert my old PC into a Linux system. However, I want to start completely fresh and not bring over any malware. I am already planning to wipe ...
Chrus's user avatar
  • 97
8 votes
3 answers
5k views

How can files be deleted in a HIPAA-compliant way?

Any material I've come up with for data destruction standards relate to completely wiping (ATA Secure Erase) and physically destroying hard drives, but I haven't been able to find much about standards ...
John Straka's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
893 views

Are there any filesystems that have secure deletion as a feature?

There's many 3rd party tools people have designed to perform secure deletion, but I don't know of any filesystems where secure deletion is built in. In fact, secure deletion has to work around ...
Steve Sether's user avatar
  • 21.6k
8 votes
3 answers
6k views

Can someone tell if you delete deleted files?

I am aware that to delete something completely we will have to use a program that over-writes the deleted file such that it is unrecoverable. Is there anyway to tell that this has happened? Or is the ...
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 3,273
8 votes
1 answer
7k views

Does the ATA Trim command irrecoverably delete data on an SSD?

I occasionally see people reference the difficulty of deleting data from an Solid State Disk. Because of the nature of SSDs (wear leveling, etc), simply writing to the same sector of the disk doesn't ...
Steve Sether's user avatar
  • 21.6k
8 votes
1 answer
11k views

Does Amazon S3 deletion "shred" your object

I believe Amazon states that all deletions of objects are irreversible. But for security reasons, how "shreded" is such deletion? For example, supposing a hack to Amazon S3, could anyone recover your ...
noderman's user avatar
  • 407
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Cases where DBAN has won

Are there any real life cases where software such as DBAN (to securely erase disks) has beaten government/law enforcement agencies? I found this online which lists each time encryption has beaten ...
k1308517's user avatar
  • 1,272
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to avoid local caches when I open encrypted files

For personal usage I tend to keep things that I want to hide or protect in rar archives encrypted and protected with a password. Today I launched an antivirus scan, and as result it found malware in a ...
user3574984's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
7k views

How secure is the Windows 8 "Reset your PC" function?

Windows 8 has a feature to "Reset your PC" so that if someone needs to give their computer away, the recipient won't be able to recover data. How secure is it?
securityuser's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
485 views

Live OS : secure file deletion

In the case of a Live OS (i.e Tails) where filesystems are kept in RAM, is there any difference in the way a file is deleted ? Specific case considered : files "1.jpg" and "2.jpg" in a running Live ...
msec24's user avatar
  • 105
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

What type of data can be recovered from the swap file / page file and thumbs file

This question follows on from a previously posted question on recovery of data from a wiped disk. I have been informed that no files have been found on the computer on the hard disk or in the deleted ...
James009's user avatar
  • 111
6 votes
8 answers
640 views

A computing environment that saves no data

I want to use a laptop which doesn’t save any data, history, passwords anywhere in it. All state information should be destroyed once it is turned off or rebooted, without removing my ability to use ...
user16766's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What's a good secure file deletion software?

I've used cipher \w which is built into Windows to overwrite free space, but I'm looking for a tool that securely deletes files which have not been deleted yet. It would be a plus (but certainly not ...
Celeritas's user avatar
  • 10.1k
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is data-remanence a concern in RAM?

I know data-remanence is a concern on hard drives, but is it a concern on RAM? For example, once a program completes, is its data still available on RAM, just as data on a hard drive remains after ...
Jonathan's user avatar
  • 3,157

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